Take your sorrow soup,
sour mash of sand
that slipped through
your mother’s hands on
days spent resenting a husband’s
Trickle in the salt from old
wounds, sprinkle an ounce
of onion tears over whatever meat
you can trim from the fat
on her old chopping block.
Stir in the shadow of the owl
that passes overhead
whispering that necessary question
who cooks for you?
Kelley Jean White
Pediatrician Kelley White has worked in inner-city Philadelphia and rural New Hampshire. Her poems have appeared in Exquisite Corpse, Rattle and JAMA. Her recent books are Toxic Environment (Boston Poet Press) and Two Birds in Flame (Beech River Books). She received a 2008 Pennsylvania Council on the Arts grant.
The darkest hour is just before
the middle of the night.
Mishka Shubaly, “Destructible”
I climbed the infinite staircase
that leads nowhere;
it took me almost a decade,
a fractured ankle,
a fractured rib,
a broken tooth,
my peace of mind,
and half of my soul.
I played the eleven games,
those were happier days.
But I remember the rejection,
the taste of blood in my mouth,
a pitch-black bottomless pit
of youth and sadness.
I know how it feels to be depressed
at your aunt’s birthday party,
to think about death at the dive bar,
I know the strange looks you get
when you make jokes about misery,
I know how it feels
to spend the entire weekend
under a fortress of shadows and blankets.
Advil and beer for breakfast.
Black and white movies,
empty bottles of cheap white wine,
broken glass on the carpet,
suicidal fantasies at the supermarket,
tears at the airport,
cold sweat at the parking lot,
hot coffee and antidepressants,
shattered dreams and broken hearts.
That’s all that’s left:
Bad memories of the good old days.
Juan David Cruz-Duarte
Juan David Cruz-Duarte was born in Bogotá, Colombia. He lived in South Carolina for 10 years. In 2018 he earned a doctorate degree in Comparative Literature from the University of South Carolina. His work has been published in Five:2:One, Fall Lines, the Dead Mule School of Southern Literature, Jasper Magazine, Blue Collar Review, Burningword, Escarabeo, Máquina Combinatoria, and elsewhere. He is the author of Dream a little dream of me: Cuentos siniestros (2011), La noche del fin del mundo (2012), and Léase después de mi muerte (Poemas 2005-2017) (2018). He lives in Bogotá.
John J. Zywar
John J. Zywar is a retiree in Central Massachusetts who enjoys pursuing his interests in photography, cooking, family history research, prose and poetry. His interest in photography grew out of a 4H program in photography which included darkroom experience when he was in high school. His photographic art interests run from macro photography of frost to landscapes, all intended to spark a reaction from the observer. Art is a presentation to the senses to elicit an emotional response. Transforming photographs to artistic images through digital means is a current area of exploration. He has taken a number of workshops with professional nature photographer Harry Collins. His photos last appeared in a show at the Logansport Art Association (Indiana) with art by his wife (watercolors), and two daughters (ceramics and metal).